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Legal Issues Advance Care Planning A dvance Directives Nova Scotia Jeanne Desveaux May 9, 2014.

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Presentation on theme: "Legal Issues Advance Care Planning A dvance Directives Nova Scotia Jeanne Desveaux May 9, 2014."— Presentation transcript:

1 Legal Issues Advance Care Planning A dvance Directives Nova Scotia Jeanne Desveaux May 9, 2014

2 Advance Health Care Directives  Two types: –Instructive Directive –Proxy Directive  Provides information to health care professionals if a patient is: –Unable to express their wishes –Unable to make decisions

3 The Instructive Directive  Referred to as “living will”  Documents health care preferences –Wishes regarding life-sustaining treatments  Outlines how health care decisions should be made on patient’s behalf  Helpful to both the proxy and health professionals

4 The Instructive Directive  Criteria: –Patient and proxy must be of the age of majority –Patient must be capable of giving consent to medical treatment  To be valid, the authorization must be: –In writing –Signed by the person giving it –Witnessed by a person who is not the proxy or the spouse of the proxy

5 The Proxy Directive  Known as durable power of attorney for health care  Proxy is the “substitute decision maker” –A person entrusted with responsibility to speak for another individual when they are unable to speak for themselves  Can incorporate the instructive directive

6 Reminders  Advance Care Directive must be available when crisis occurs –Not locked away in safety deposit box  Directive must be reflective of the individual’s current health situation  Must reflect future unknowns (e.g. heart attack)  Documents must be reviewed and updated

7 Goals of Advance Directives  Role for both the physician and the lawyer  Goal is to develop a document that is: –Individualized to the particular patient’s preferences –Reflective of their goals and values

8 Personal Directives Act

9 Sample Clause  If, I am in the advanced (end) stages of an illness and in the dying process, I wish to have no life prolonging treatment, such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), ventilation, blood transfusion surgery or tube feeding. I will accept treatment with antibiotics however, if it is administered with the intention of alleviating pain. I do wish to have pain medication and other measures, excluding intravenous or subcutaneous hydration, to keep me comfortable, even if they hasten my death.

10 Some unique features Instructions about statutory decision-makers:  If for some unforeseen reason my delegate and alternative are unavailable, I am herein instructing that the following relatives are not to be consulted regarding any and all healthcare and personal decisions: Not Applicable

11 Consultation  Consultation when delegate making decisions  My delegate may consult with my family physician and other family members if my delegate determines that such consultation is advisable or necessary.

12 Purpose of the Act  Help individuals prepare for the onset of incapacity to make personal care decisions (nutrition, hydration, shelter, clothing, hygiene, comfort, recreation, support services, healthcare, placement)  Help individuals who have not prepared for incapacity regarding personal care decisions by providing a mechanism for the appointment of a statutory decision maker who can make decisions related to long term care placement, health care decisions and home care support services.

13 What does the Act allow for?  Appoint someone (delegate) to make personal care decisions for the maker  Set out instructions or general principles about what or how personal care decisions should be made  Hierarchy of statutory substitute decision makers for (1) health care (2) placement in continuing care home and (3) home care services

14 Jurisdictional Context  Nova Scotia’s approach is aligned with other Canadian provincial jurisdictions  Nova Scotia’s model is informed by a number of provincial programs that have been in existence for a number of years such as Ontario and the Yukon

15 Personal Directive – As a Document  Any individual capable to make the decision in the personal directive- including mature minors can make a personal directive  It must be signed, dated and witnessed  A personal directive is considered a legal document if it meets the above noted criteria  A personal directive takes effect when the person who created the personal directive, becomes incapacitated  A personal directive will not assure the maker access to services that are above and beyond the established program parameters –E.g. will not allow placement “fast tracking” based on facility preference

16 Planning for Your Future  A Personal Directive is just one of many planning mechanisms a person may use to ensure their wishes and values related to end of life decisions are captured and communicated  Other mechanisms may include: –Directives made in other jurisdictions are valid  (section 24) –Authorizations made under the Medical Consent Act prior to Nov 1, 2009 –Enduring Power of Attorney/Power of Attorney –Wills

17 Capacity  For all Planning Mechanisms, Capacity is assumed unless otherwise proven and is a requirement to support the validity of the planning document  Section 2(a): “capacity”, with respect to the Personal Directives Act, means the ability to understand the information that is relevant to the making of a personal care decision and the ability to appreciate the reasonably foreseeable consequences of a decision or lack of decision  Definition fits with national and international movement; (eg. UK Mental Capacity Act) For Health Purposes  When there is a question of or disagreement related to an individuals capacity, physician’s opinion must be sought – section 10, 11 and 13 PDA – form in regulations  Health Care professionals will continue to assess client’s ability to give informed consent to service – as part of professional guidelines and scope of practice

18 Named Delegates  Can make personal care decisions –e.g.;  Nutrition  hydration  shelter  clothing  hygiene,  comfort,  Recreation  support services  healthcare  placement  Must abide by instructions outlined in personal directive, or if values or wishes are unknown, decisions should be made in the “best interests” of the person represented  Who are they? –Individual who created the personal directive can identify anyone they wish –e.g.  family member  neighbour  friend

19 Appointed Statutory Decision Makers  Can make decisions in relation to 3 areas: –health care –placement in continuing care home –home care services  Must make decisions based on knowledge of or believed wishes of the person based on values and/or oral instructions; if they do not know the wishes, they base decision on the ‘best interests’ of the person  Who are they? –Nearest relative (hierarchy) –Public Trustee

20 Protections and Limitations Key protections:  Termination/revocation  Offences  Court powers (similar to issues of guardianship now)  Liability protection  Good Faith Clause Limitations  A personal directive does not permit an illegal act  An appointed substitute decision maker or delegate must comply with the requirements set out in the Personal Directives Act with respect to their role and responsibilities –Section 15 (4) of the Act

21 Benefits  Fill long-standing gaps in legislation to address informed consent issues for placement and ‘home care services’ and health care outside of hospital  Allow for Nova Scotians to be legally clear about their wishes related to their care and personal decisions once they no longer have the capacity to do so;  Provide clarity to health care workers in working with delegates/ substitute decision makers (families)

22 Challenges  Developing and sharing a Personal Directive to ensure that their wishes and values related to their decisions are captured and communicated  Ensuring that health care professionals understand both the development process associated with creating a document (a Plan) as well as the law

23 Cognitive Impairment  Talking specifically about dementia  The presence of dementia does not mean an inability to complete a Personal Directive –It means there is more burden on the lawyer receiving instructions (stats all over the map) – informed consent –Communication! Communication!

24 Capacity to make a Personal Directive  Decisional capacity includes at least four components: –understanding information relevant to the decision –appreciating the information (applying the information to one’s own situation) –using the information in reasoning –and expressing a consistent choice

25 Can capacity be improved?  Usually not, but understanding can  Communication can!  Supporting the efforts of “Speak Up”

26 Reminders 1. Everyone is assumed to be competent –Unless they have been declared incompetent by a court – then their attorney/ delegate or guardian should be the decision-maker 2. Ask Questions-re-ask questions –(make a note of the questions and answers when documenting the consent process)

27 Need More Information?  Information related the Personal Directives Act and developing a Personal Directive are available online at:

28 Questions?


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